Call To Action Definition Essay Samples

Let’s talk about the call to action.

Want more email subscribers? Contest entries? Conversions? You won’t get them without the right call to action.

Almost all of your marketing content should have well-crafted call to actions designed to drive action.

It’s an essential part of copywriting that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. It’s one area of writing where people get lazy, even after they’ve spent hours creating strong campaigns.

The calls to action that we use can determine whether or not people do, in fact, take action, along with how many.

And since we want all of our readers and customers here at AdEspresso to maximize those conversions- getting both more sales and better ROI- we’re going to dive deep into the call to action today.

In this post, you’re going to see 31 diverse call to action examples and how to use them, along with advanced copywriting tips to help you craft the perfect one.

What Is A Call To Action?

You’ve probably heard “call to action”, also known as a CTA, bandied around the marketing world.

So what is a call to action? It’s the sentence, or button, that closes the deal.

You’ve sold your product or company with killer ad copy and a great image or video — but now you need to make a sale. The call to action definition describes it as a piece of content intended to persuade a user to perform a specific task — which might be purchasing your product, signing up for your newsletter, or clicking through to a landing page.

So while a call to action isn’t always about making a sale — you’re always persuading your reader to leap into action.

So how do you create a persuasive and effective call to action?

Why You Need A Strong Call To Action

It’s pretty easy to stick a “sign up here” call to action on the end of a Facebook video advertisement and hope that it’s enough to drive conversions.

This is what a lot of businesses do; they put a ton of time, energy, and money into the creation of their Facebook ad and then slap a half-hearted call to action on the end of it. This is true for PPC campaigns, social media videos, email campaigns, and even blog posts.

That’s not enough. You don’t need any call to action; you want a strong one that will actually convince people to take action.

There are two main purposes of a call to action, after all: to tell someone what they should do, and give them the motivation to do so. A lot of people remember to tell people what they should do, but they forget the why part of that equation. Without that added in, you won’t see the types of conversion rates that you should.

While sometimes your content preceding the call to action will be able to answer this question, sometimes it doesn’t. Even if it does, a quick recap makes the call to action more powerful and never hurts.

How Long Should A Call To Action Be?

Can a call to action be longer than a sentence? Absolutely, yes.

I’ve noticed that since Facebook’s call to action buttons have been around (which are exceptional!), a lot of business owners I work with think that a call to action should be nothing more than two or three words at best. “Shop Now.” “Sign up Today.” While a call to action can be this short- especially when it comes to clickable CTA buttons which we’ll discuss later on in this post- they don’t all have to be.

A call to action should be concise, in general, but that doesn’t have to mean ridiculously short. It means exactly that: concise.

The brevity and directness of a well-written call to action will put the focus on what’s important and remove any distractions. It’s kind of like really good French cooking- you use good, high-quality simple ingredients to make something great, and you only use as many as are necessary.

When we’re looking at great call to action examples, you’ll see plenty of what I call “long form CTAs” and how and when to use them. We’re going to look at everything from placements to formatting, but we’re going to pay special attention to the language chosen and why it was used.

Call To Action Examples

Sometimes the quickest way to get really good at something (like writing a killer call to action) is to draw inspiration from the best.

Let’s take a look at 31 of the best call to action examples.

1. Netflix

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know what Netflix is. It’s a service that has become a household name, like Google and Facebook.

Because they know that you know who they are, they don’t worry about overcoming objections about why you’ll need the service with their CTA and surrounding text.

Instead, they focus on a different objection:

This is their homepage, and the copy is insanely simple. “Watch Anywhere. Cancel Anytime.” lists both the biggest advantage and overcomes the biggest objectives users have when it comes to Netflix. They’re immediately letting users know that there’s no risk, either now or after the free trial.

Many consumers today are more skeptical about the fine print that businesses have gotten better at sneaking past them, so showing users that there’s no commitment and zero risks for them in the situation (aside from maybe getting hooked on Stranger Things, but that’s another story) will be sure to increase conversions.

2. Rothy’s

Most businesses do what we can to increase email subscribers. Email addresses are immensely valuable, giving you an easy-in to a customer’s email inbox and the ability to target them directly with Facebook’s custom audiences.

A lot of businesses, however, aren’t always so great at increasing subscribers. Shoe company Rothy’s call to action can give us some inspiration for how to change that.

A lot of times, we’ll say “sign up for our newsletter to learn more!” (or just “sign up for our newsletter).

Rothy’s leverages exclusivity in their CTA to generate more email sign-ups by saying “find out first.”

Since everyone wants to be the first to know about new products, new sales, and news in general, this is a smart CTA that is sure to boost their email subscription rate.

3. Vanguard

As someone who recently went through the process, I can speak from experience when I say that trying to choose a retirement account as a small business owner is exhausting. There’s a lot of options, and you don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Vanguard’s CTAs don’t aggressively sell on their landing page; instead, they start warming up the customer by using “you” language instead of “us” language.

What I mean by this is that they prioritize the customer’s needs. They use language like “See why Vanguard’s right for you” and “See how a Vanguard advisor can help.”

Even though their site copy is designed to sell just as much as their competitors, it feels more intimate and less aggressive. For tentative, overwhelmed potential investors, this can work to their advantage.

4. Salesforce

Salesforce’s home page has some of the best call to action buttons to drive users to the correct destination on the site.A clear example of this is the top-of-the-fold content on their homepage.

This home page has a “Try for Free” call to action button that’s immediately evident in the top right-hand corner, and a “Start My Free Trial” under an explanation of why Salesforce has gotten even better.

In case users aren’t ready to convert just yet, they also have a call to action button immediately underneath prompting them to “Learn more about the partnership.” This helps ensure that if users aren’t ready to sign up yet, you’ll be able to funnel them to more information that could change that.

Further down on the home page, they also have demos to show potential customers all the different features Salesforce has to offer. They use clickable CTA buttons to make it clear that users can watch the videos, and make it easy for them to do so.

5. Daily Look

Sometimes the best way to make your call to action more effective is to get creative with the pain points that you target. Realistically, personal styling company Daily Look has very little to do with finding more hours in the day and a lot more to do with buying expensive clothes.

Their call toaction, however, gives customers a reason that they can shop guilt free– they can imagine that they will now have so much more time, freed of the huge burden of finding stylish clothes.

“Leaving you time for everything else” is a genius move. It’s creative, and it creates the illusion of a pain point that isn’t really there right before the bright blue “Start Now” CTA.

6. Freshbooks 

Almost all small business owners are strapped for time. I feel like that’s just a universal statement. Freshbooks really hones in on that pain point like Daily Look in their call to action, but they do it in a slightly different way…

They get specific.

They know that their audience is likely to be meticulous about tracking time and income for their business, and they appeal to that trait by having a call to action that says exactly how much time Freshbooks can save you per year (192 hours, in case you were wondering). That’s a heck of a lot of time, and it’s the kind of fact that catches your attention.

They immediately follow it with a bright green “Try it Free” clickable call to action that jumps out on the screen. Try not clicking after you read that!

7. Toms 

Toms was recently (as of the time I was writing this post) having a flash sale. Or, as they put it in their popup, a “surprise sale.”

Their call to action shows up on a pop-up after you’ve been on their site for at least thirty seconds, and they use the bright blue call to action to stand out against the rest of the box for extra effect.

The copy is also well-written, implying exclusivity (which we know always sells). The “psssst” makes it feel like a secret, and the word “surprise” instead of “flash” makes it seem more intimate.

To top it off, they have a tiny “Limited time only!” but they neglect to say how limited that time frame is.

Is it an hour? A year? Ten seconds? Who knows?! What we do know is that an interested customer is on that site, and they now know that they can get a discount for an undisclosed amount of time. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will.

8. Dollar Shave Club 

Dollar shave club has been known for their smart marketing in the past, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the call to action on their landing page is well-written.

Their message is clear- look like a million bucks without having to spend it.

They also use the word “try” instead of “join,” which is slightly less committal and will make more site visitors comfortable when clicking the “Get Started” button.

It doesn’t seem like you’ll have to immediately enter in your credit card or be sucked into a subscription, but the benefits as to why you’d want to try it are clear.

9. Shakr 

When you first visit Shakr’s homepage, the first thing you’ll see is two lines of copy telling you exactly what Shakr can do for you- help your business make great videos. Immediately underneath this, they have a call to action to “Sign up for a free trial account now” and an email subscriber box with a green “Sign Up” call to action button.

The button draws the eye in, and having the email sign-up box on the home page instead of having the call to action take them to the sign-up page is a great move.

It makes it exceptionally easy to take the desired action, strengthening the effectiveness of the call to action itself.

10. Purple

Purple’s home page uses call to action buttons that don’t just encourage to sign up for a free trial, they really make sure to emphasize the “free” part of the equation.

A lot of businesses will mention the free trial in the copy above the call to action, but Purple’s smart decision to add “Free” to both call to action buttons (the one up top in blue, and the one center-stage in purple) emphasizes that this is a no-risk/high-reward situation for new customers.

That makes it much more effective, and is guaranteed to increase conversions.

11. Simple Pin Media 

Simple Pin Media makes great use of call to actions in their blog posts, and an example can be seen here.

Towards the end of her post, pictured above, she highlights the CTA to “download the Simple Pin Planner” so that it stands out on the page, making it more effective.

It’s placed at the end of the post, once her readers know that she had valuable insight to offer and that the planner would be beneficial to them.

She also makes sure to explain why users should download the content in her CTA: “Want more info?” and “for all these tips, trending topics, and more” tells users exactly why taking this action would benefit them.

It’s still exceptionally concise, but it gets the point across.

12. Allure

Videos can be great for brand awareness, but it can be tricky to get even the most engaged watchers to move from the video to a secondary site. Allure found a remedy to this; they showed the beginning of a cosmetic procedure where a woman had lip color tattooed on her lips, but then stopped short of showing us how it actually turned out. They showed us the call to action pictured below:

In bright pink blocks with white text (directly contrasting the background and styled to look like a clickable call to action even though it isn’t), the end of the video teases the ability to see the full transformation and learn more. All the users have to do is click on the video.

Using snippets of video to capture interest and real users in, but then keeping the end result or more information and using the call to action to get them to the next digital location is incredibly effective. 

The word choice is also good here. They don’t say “see the new look,” they say “full transformation.” This sounds dramatic, like it’s so different you must see it. 

13. Fairwinds

This call to action from Fairwinds credit union below is creatively written, uses bolding to emphasize the main point, and clearly explains the benefit of the program even though we don’t know what the program is yet.

“Sign up today and make saving money effortless.” You can’t really go wrong with saving more money, right? They also use “cents” as a pun on “sense,” and they bold the “cents” and the name of the program to make sure that you’re taking in key parts of the message.

How do you not want to learn more about making saving money effortless, after all?

14. Plated

There’s a ton of food subscription boxes out there right now. I can think of six direct competitors to Plated off the top of my head.

They make sure to use their call to action to drive home what makes them different: the is the food box for foodies.

They aren’t emphasizing convenience or health value the way some of the other boxes do; they make it clear that you will “get everything you need to make amazing meals- delivered in one perfectly customized box.”

It feels luxurious, and the use of “customized” makes it feel like you’re getting a luxury service from a personal chef, even though they’re still mass-produced in a facility somewhere. The “Sign Up Now” call to action is a bright pastel green that stands out immediately on the page, which again, is a huge bonus.

15. Mint

Mint knows that many individuals might be skeptical about their service, whether about security or how long it would take or whether it would actually be useful. Their call to action is about overcoming objections.

It only takes seconds, their CTA tells us. There’s nothing to lose (which they say right before adding a link in blue taking you to the security overview of the app), and financial freedom to gain.

Again, this is that high reward/low risk set up that businesses want to use to convince you to give them a shot. They finish off the sentiment by reminding you that you can, in fact, sign up for free with their clickable call to action button.

16. T-Mobile

This is a CTA that incentivizes one specific reward.

They don’t talk about how good their coverage is, or how their prices are competitive, or the amount of data or hotspots you can get like most plans. Instead, their call to action is focusing on something else: get a plan with us, and you get Netflix for free!

The emphasis is much heavier on the reward than the actual product you’d be buying in this landing page call to action, which I think is interesting and smart.

They talk about “binging your favorite shows at no extra cost,” instead of discussing something like “and never struggle with service again.” Their CTA is exceptionally focused, which is a good thing- it avoids confusing or distracting users with too much information at once.

Their “Get the details” clickable CTA is the right choice, too, sending users to more information about what types of lines qualify.

17. TurboTax

Some people dread doing taxes (me included), but I could never put it off until the last minute. My poor CPA has to send me so many updates that I send him a Christmas present every year. The reason why: I dread taxes, but I dislike not being ready come tax time even more. I think a lot of us have been in the position where we wait and scramble.

TurboTax’s call to action reminds us this while simultaneously giving additional motivation to sign up now. 

You’ll be ready for tax time, they say, because you’ll have a head start. And even better- you’ll save $10. They say to buy the software and have it ready, so you’ll be ready come tax time (as if any of us ever are).

It offers an external incentive and intrinsic motivation at once. 

18. Bed Bath &Beyond

One of the best things you can do for your call to action in an email message is to put the text on what looks like a clickable CTA button.

A great example can be seen here from Bed Bath & Beyond:

They use smart formatting- which is an important part of the CTA- to make a blue banner look like a clickable button. This, unsurprisingly, increases the number of clicks that it will get.

19. VoiceNation

VoiceNation makes their call to action about you. You deserve more. The best. And now, you can experience the difference.

This is an excellent CTA. “Experience the Difference” is one of those lines that are really powerful as a CTA here.

It displays confidence that you’ll really see the superior quality, and they don’t just want to give you the bullet points, they want you to experience it yourself with their free trial. Supported by smaller, subtle text demonstrating their high ratings, it’s hard not to want to check it out for yourself.

20. Bigstock

Sometimes a CTA isn’t about an immediate conversion, but getting users to take an action on your site.

Bigstock’s CTA in their image search box is a great example of why you should give all CTAs equal importance- not just the ones that sell directly.

A lot of similar sites will say “Search images” in the search box. Bigstock, by comparison, encourages users to “Find the perfect image…” T

his implies that you’ll find the exact image that you’re looking for and you won’t have to settle, and the ellipses at the end is a good touch to make it feel like the images are just there waiting for you. All you have to do is search.

This will drive engagement on their site, which could result in paying customers. 

21. CanvasPop

A lot of marketers put their CTA underneath the image on their Facebook Ads, but this is an instance where it worked to place it above, in the larger and more immediately visible text:

CanvasPop’s “Get 60% off when you order today” is immediately evident, giving it a lot more visibility and power than if it were buried towards the bottom in smaller text.

They also preface it with a quick explanation of what you can get from CanvasPop so the CTA doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

22. Monster

Sometimes the shorter the statement, the more powerful it is. Monster’s “Find Better” is an excellent example.

The immense shortness of just those two words is powerful, especially to job searchers who almost definitely frustrated with their current jobs or the other listings they’ve seen online. They go on to elaborate “Monster can help you find the best jobs, employers, and career advice,” explaining what “better” they can offer you.

Just in case you’re not a candidate, and are instead an employer, Monster has a smaller call to action in blue for you down below encouraging you to start searching for -and finding- the most talented people right now.

23. Suntrust

Suntrust’s call to action does something a little bit different that likely wouldn’t work for a lot of businesses, but it works for them.

They start with a negative in the form of a problem, saying “you can’t buy financial confidence.” They then immediately offer themselves as a solution with “but you can build it up at onUp.com.”

Problem/solution selling is a highly effective sales technique and it works, here, too. 

The CTA button is what’s so unique. They say “Confidence Starts Here” instead of “Start Building Confidence Here.”

I think for most businesses (especially B2B businesses), using a more passive CTA like this one would not be the right choice. Given the context, however, and the subject it works. “Confidence Starts Here” is a pretty solid statement, and I know I clicked to learn more what it was about.

24. Shopify

Mobile ad space is limited. This is where you want to get ultra-concise and fast. Shopify was able to do that in this Facebook Ad that popped up in my mobile newsfeed:

I’d almost be surprised if this wasn’t a mobile-only ad. “Sell Your Crafts on FB!” and “Sell online, in-store, and on Facebook…” are all incredibly brief, which works as a strong advantage on this platform where brevity is key.

The ellipsis following Facebook that leads right into the “Learn More” button is also a smart move, taking you from one thought right to the clickable CTA button.

25. Snappa

It’s not much of a surprise that graphic design software Snappa has a perfectly-crafted call to action.

Both the visual design aspects and the copy of this call to action are perfect.

There are two main areas of focus, both of which are in bright contrasting colors to the background to help them stand out. “Create online graphics in a snap” and “Create my Graphic Now” are both clear, concise statements telling users what they can do with the software, and that they should do it.

Since this is on a landing page, they put a brief introduction into the tool in between these two lines, explaining more about the service to strengthen the call to action.

26. MOO

MOO has outstanding business cards, and their quality is second to none. But if you haven’t seen one first hand, you might not believe them when they make this claim. It’s like how every diner in the world claims to have the world’s best cup of coffee; we all know that 99.999% of them are lying.

To overcome this and prove that they are actually superior, MOO has an offer on their site: “Get a feel for MOO” by ordering a free Sample Pack.

This is an ideal call to action for customers who are on the fence and looking at competition, especially since MOO is more expensive than most of their competition. They have to prove that they’re worth it first, and this is an excellent way to do so– especially since the literal feel and texture of the cards is what’s so important.

27. Allstate 

If you go to most insurance sites, they just have a box for you to enter your zip code and a “Get Quote” call to action. These work, but Allstate’s call to action stands above the rest.

They turned “Get Quote” into “Get a quick, personalized insurance quote today.” This will resonate well with potential customers, who are sick of seeing estimated projections on other sites (speaking from experience here).

28. Williams Sonoma

Call to actions don’t just belong in direct-sales content; regular social media posts can have them, too.

Encouraging users to sign-up, follow you on other platforms, engage in a contest, or visit your site will all be more effective when you spell out what they should do.

This post has a call to action to “get the recipe in the bio” instead of just hoping that customers will be interested enough to realize that the recipe was online. They also give detailed instructions by noting that the link is available through the bio, instead of just noting that it was available.

It’s specific, and actionable, which all great call to actions should be.

29. Animoto

Facebook advertisements don’t give you a whole lot of space (and users don’t always like to give you a whole lot of their attention) so it’s to your benefit to get right to the point. This is particularly true with video ads; users only want to read a brief description before deciding to watch.

Animoto took note of this in their latest ad:

Their call to action is clear. “Watch our Summit with these big influencers, and get 25% off our plan. Learn more about this here.” That is super direct, and it uses what I call the “Do this Because This” formula (we talk about that more later on).

Basically, they’re saying “take this action because you’ll get this benefit.” It’s clear, it’s to the point, and it’s effective.

30. WordPressEngine 

This call to action is big and in-your-face, but it’s clear. It uses strong action verbs like “drive,” “build,” “protect,” “grow,” and “power.”

They also emphasize “faster,” using it twice to emphasize the rapid growth your business could experience thanks to their platform. It’s hard to say no to that.

Instead of encouraging you to immediately sign up, they know that you’ll want to learn more about the details and what they can offer, so they smartly chose “See Our Plans” instead of pushing for an immediate signup. 

31. Houzz

Houzz is a new design site that’s ready to help you redo your house. Because there’s a lot of interior designers, home remodelers, and sites out there that can help you find something you like it buy it instantly (um, Pinterest anyone?), they knew they had to use a call to action that would make them stand out. 

“The New Way to Design Your Home” feels exciting and innovative. You can’t help but wonder what this new and improved way is.

Underneath it, they immediately offer several benefits to using Houzz and showing how it can help you. You can draw inspiration, shop, or find professionals to help you. No matter what you came to the site looking for, they can help.

After addressing that they can do everything any other site would do, but that they do it in a new way (which implies a better way), they place their call to action button that easily stands out against the backdrop.

How to Write the Perfect, High-Converting Call To Action

We’ve looked at a ton of examples, and now it’s time to learn how to take the inspiration and spin it into gold for our own businesses.

Fortunately, writing a CTA isn’t that difficult once you know what to do. And really, all you have to do is follow these five steps.

1. Focus on One Goal

The importance of this can’t be overstated. Each ad campaign should focus on one primary goal. Maybe the goal of your Facebook video ad is to drive brand awareness, for example, so it was created for a cold audience. That’s great! While other secondary results can occur as a result of the ad- like people clicking to your site or purchasing from you- these things should not be the focus if you’re trying to drive brand awareness. Your call to action should directly reflect that.

In the example above, you would want all call to action copy to reflect towards that singular goal. You’d choose a Facebook CTA button of “Learn More” instead of “Shop Now” or even “Sign Up.” It’s about brand awareness at this moment. If someone happens to click to your site and decides to purchase, excellent! But if you want conversions, run a separate campaign (with a separate call to action) for it.

Let’s look at what happens when you don’t follow this rule. Apple has the following Facebook Ad running to promote the new iPhone:

In addition to the ad copy being a little bit too receptive and lacking on the features, there’s a disconnect between the headline and the call to action. I love the headline “Say Hello to the future. Order iPhone X.” But then, instead of selling the phone in the description by listing features, they just say “Meet it. It’s here.” Then, the call to action says “Learn More,” when “Shop Now” would have been a much better choice when encouraging users to order it. It feels a little confusing and lackluster. While customers may not dissect this consciously the way we just did, you know they’ll register at least most of it unconsciously.

2. Use Action Words

Also known as verbs, action words are specific and motivating. “Shop,” “Sign up,” “Discover,” “Try,” “Watch,”and “Start” are all examples. They’re direct in telling customers what they should do next; there’s no question about what you’re supposed to do, which is kind of the point.

You want to be really specific with the action words you choose and the instructions that follow them. A dog rescue’s campaign, for example, wouldn’t be effective if they just said “help us today.” Instead, choosing “sign up as a volunteer dog walker today” or “donate money or puppy food to help us take in the new litter” are more specific, giving people exact ways they can help. This increases the likelihood that they will.

You should also support your action words and instructions with descriptions that help explain why it’s so beneficial to the customer. “Start your 30-day free trial” sounds better than “Start your trial,” after all.

3. Choose the Right Formula for the Right Medium

Sometimes, you’ll want to keep your call to action incredibly short. CTA buttons, for example, should ideally contain six words or less. Anything more than that just doesn’t look quite right on a clickable button, and it can be overwhelming and take away from the visual impact. Meanwhile, a call to action in a blog post and on landing pages will typically be longer, and may include two sentences to build up to the actual action part and make it more persuasive.

There are three basic formulas that you can use to get started when creating your call to action. These are:

  • Do this. These CTAs are as simple as they come, and work well on clickable CTA buttons. Examples include “Sign up today” and “Discover why here.”
  • Do this by Doing this.  This suggestion gives detailed instructions,  which can make users more likely to click. Think more along the lines of “Help us rescue more dogs by making a cash donation” or “Get a 10% discount by subscribing to our newsletter.”

  • Do this because of this. In a lot of cases, this may be the best formula to use because it answers the “why” question. If your answer is persuasive enough, users will click and convert. “Donate to our rescue to help save dog’s lives” and “Never waste your ad spend again. Hire our ad agency to run your campaigns today” are both examples of introducing benefits and incentives to take action, instead of just the instructions.

4. Decide if You Want to Go Positive or Negative

This is an important part of the equation that plenty of people forget about. You can make your call to action a positive one or a negative one. Both are effective.

A negative call to action will leverage a customer’s fear, pain points, and risk aversions, and offer you as a solution. “Tired of not getting enough sleep? Try our new chamomile tea supplements,” for example, utilizes a negative memory of a pain point to highlight why customers need to click. A positive version of this might say “Get the best sleep of your life with our chamomile tea supplement and wake up refreshed every day.”

This is an example of a positive call to action…

Both can be effective. In this particular case, the negative take might win out, however. The thought of getting great sleep just isn’t as powerful as the dread of not getting any sleep. Sometimes, what we can lose by not using the product can speak to customers even more than what they can gain (even if it’s the same thing).

And this is an example of a negative angle for a CTA.

The best way to figure out angle works best for you is to craft a few call to actions and split test them on the same offer. It’ll be pretty easy to see which gets more results quickly.

5. Prioritize Brevity

I studied writing in college, and the first lesson I learned was a big one: write the story, article, or site copy as you think you should write it. Then chuck the first paragraph and about half of the rest of the text away. Most of us are over-explainers, and there are a lot of fans of purple prose out there. (Seriously. You would not believe some of the wanna-be-Shakespeare messages I got when I was online dating).

All of the best call to actions prioritize brevity. This doesn’t mean you have to follow a character count, but it does mean that your call to action and surrounding text never has any more words than are needed. Some descriptions: beneficial. Too many, and things get muddled and distracting.

Let’s look at the following example from Movement Mortgage, where they’re promoting their mortgage app.

The call to action is breathtakingly concise. “Your mortgage. At your fingertips. Learn more about Easy App.” They could have had a million bullet points listing “Pay your mortgage on the go. Check your interest rates. Never miss a payment. Highly secure.” Instead, they kept it simple, knowing that no further information was needed to get users to click to learn more about the app.

It’s a hard balance to strike: you have to give customers enough information to get them to click, but not so much that the information becomes overwhelming. When in doubt, ask a copywriter or marketing friend for a second opinion.

Final Thoughts

Having a strong, intentional, well-crafted call to action will breathe new life into your campaigns, but not having one could sink even the best content. It’s also important to remember that the call to action shouldn’t just be kept to a PPC campaign or an email blast; they should be used in as many types of marketing content as possible. Your blog post can encourage people to leave comments, or to subscribe to the newsletter, or try a new product; your Instagram post can encourage users to “check the link in our bio for more!”

A lot of businesses are actually underusing call to actions from this standpoint, so take a look at your content and see where you should make an effort to incorporate them more often. Just take note of the examples in this guide and follow the steps to writing the perfect call to action and you can watch the positive effect on your business.

What do you think? Which do you think are the best call to action examples? Which brands used them best? How do you write the perfect call to action for your campaigns? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!  

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Read to the end of this blog post to receive $1 million!

Oh, if only that were true. I’d probably read through more than once. However, now that I have you thinking about the proper way to motivate someone, I’d like to share some tips on how to craft a clear and engaging call-to-action (CTA) for your marketing campaigns.

What Is a Call to Action in Marketing?

In marketing, your call to action is the part of your advertisement that tells your target audience what they should be doing once they click on your PPC ad and hit your website or landing page. The simplest example of a call to action is "Buy now!" The more information you can provide your potential customers with your CTA, the better it will be for all parties involved. You can let your audience know what to expect when they click on your ad, and you can help dissuade the wrong users from clicking by means of a clear and direct message. While it is also important to understand what industry-specific phrasings or messaging your potential customers would respond well to, the CTA tips below are equally valuable.

Image via Boris Lechaftois

1. Use a strong command verb to start your CTA

It’s all about being clear and concise with your CTA. You don’t have a ton of space in your ad to get your point across, with the character limit set at 35 characters per description line, so it is important to get straight to the point. Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do, and don’t dilly dally – start the CTA with the desired action.

  • Run an e-commerce website? Start your CTA with words like “buy,” “shop,” or “order”
  • Promoting a newsletter or white paper? Start your CTA with words like “download” or “subscribe”
  • Want someone to request more information? Try “fill out a form for…” or “find out how…”

Let’s go back to that white paper example. If you’re a marketing agency promoting your latest tips and insights, you want to be sure to that your audience understands exactly how to access that white paper. If your CTA read something like “Our latest white paper is available” you may not get a great click-through rate, as folks might not be sure where or when they can expect to get their hands on it. A call-to-action such as “download our white paper today!” is much more direct and informative, which should help improve CTR.

2. Use words that provoke emotion or enthusiasm

You want to be able to elicit a strong response from your audience as a result of their enthusiasm. If your CTA is enthusiastic, then your audience will be enthusiastic too. Take a CTA like “buy now and get 50% off!” – not only are you providing them with a massive benefit, but who wouldn’t be thrilled to get their order for half off?

For someone looking to book a trip with their family, a CTA such as “plan your dream vacation today!” will excite them about the notion of a family trip and make them eager to click on your ad. A small, yet effective element here is adding an exclamation point to the end of your CTA in order to provoke that enthusiasm. It makes your CTA pop, and gives it a little extra kick.

Look how much more exciting exclamation points make everything

3. Give your audience a reason why they should take the desired action

In other words, what’s in it for them? Will it help them do their jobs better, lose weight, or save money? This will tie in heavily with your value proposition, or unique selling point (USP). Your USP is arguably one of the most important pieces of acquiring new leads, so creating a nice USP/CTA mash-up is a great way to increase clicks. A good example of this would be something like “call today to schedule your free consultation!” Not only have you stated the action you want the user to take (call today), but you have also provided them with a reason why they should take that action (a free consultation).

4. Take Advantage of FOMO

This is actually one of my favorite tactics when it comes to a successful CTA. Fear of missing out, otherwise known as FOMO, is an extremely effective motivator. When people think they might lose out on an opportunity that might not come around again, they’ll be mighty quick to hop on the bandwagon. One of the best uses of FOMO in your CTA is to mention a sale or promotion that your company is holding, and which won't last forever. You probably get emails with this sort of messaging all the time, I know I sure do. I’m talking about messaging like “Shop today! Sale ends on Monday,” perhaps during a three-day weekend. Or even “buy now while supplies last!” during the holiday season. It’s tough to ignore a prompt like that, especially during a time-sensitive, under-the-gun type of situation (e.g. the Christmas season). Similar to provoking enthusiasm as we discussed earlier, provoking fear of missing out in your CTA is sure to get you some additional clicks.

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do

5. Know your devices

Creating a killer call-to-action is important, that’s no secret. But I also urge you to consider customizing your CTA based on the device being used by your audience. Google considers desktop and tablet as the same device, as the screen sizes are roughly the same, and people use them for search in similar scenarios. An example of this would be a person sitting on the couch at night, who sees an ad on TV for a product they’re interested in. The next thing they’ll probably do is grab their laptop or tablet and search for more information on it.

However, mobile devices tend to have different user behavior and search intent than desktop/tablets, making it prudent to tailor your CTA based on device. Users who search for something on their desktop or tablet are typically still doing their research, and are not quite ready to commit. But users searching for something on their mobile phone are often looking for “instant gratification” or fast results. Someone could be walking down the street when they see an ad on a moving bus, and whip out their phone and quickly search for what they saw before it leaves their brain. Their search will also likely result in a phone call to complete the desired action, rather than browsing a website. My advice is to create a more phone call-centric CTA for your ads that appear on mobile devices. You could try something like “call now to get started” or “call us today for more information,” and that should help guide your target audience to take the action you want them to take.

There are two ways you can make this tactic even more effective:

  • Google gives you the ability to set a mobile preference for your ads, which allows you to designate certain ads to only appear for searches completed on mobile devices. With this option, you can focus your CTA on generating more phone calls.
  • You can also enable call extensions, which allow you to display your phone number alongside your ads. This option is available for all devices, and I strongly recommend that you take advantage of it, but Google automatically adjusts the way your call extensions are displayed on mobile searches. Instead of your number appearing, a small “Call” button will be display, allowing for one-touch dialing. This is what is known as Google’s “Click- to-Call” function.

Google’s Click-to-Call button appears on mobile searches

6. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative

It’s important that you keep your CTA’s fresh, much like you should with your ad copy in general. A good, old-fashioned A/B test is a great way to identify which CTA’s bring you clicks, and which CTA’s bring you frowns. While your tried and true calls-to-action like the ones we’ve already discussed are always good to use, you really never know how they’ll perform in your account until you actually use them.

PPC is definitely a game of trial and error (which is why it can be frustrating!), and your calls-to-action are no exception to the rule. Something could look great on paper, or may sound great when a colleague recommends it to you, but the only way you’ll absolutely know for sure if something will work for your account is if you test it out. Your target audience may not respond well to what could be considered a “surefire CTA,” which is enough to make you pull your hair out. I recommend not only testing different CTA’s, but being creative with them too. If your target audience isn’t responding well to your ads, you might as well try to think outside the box a bit!

Elisa Gabbert shared some examples of creative CTAs in a blog post if you are looking for some additional inspiration, while Dan Shewan examined what makes some call to action examples so effective in a separate post, so do your research!

7. Use numbers when possible

We consumers respond well to seeing numbers such as pricing, discounts, promotions, incentives, etc. It helps us to determine whether or not it’s worth splurging on items we desperately want, but probably aren’t essential to everyday life. So when the opportunity arises, why not appeal to your target audience that way? I am always a big proponent of including pricing information in your ad copy in general, and that includes your CTA. If a user sees your pricing information in your ad, and decides to click through to your site, then you know they are still interested in the product or service you are offering. Now you know you have yourself a valuable click, and an increased chance at generating a conversion. But, if you don’t include your pricing information in your ads, someone may click through to your site, excited about your products/services, but then get scared off by your prices; now you have yourself a less than desirable situation. This leads to the dreaded wasted spend in your account, and who wants to deal with that?

Try experimenting with your pricing information in your CTA, as well as any other applicable numerical information. A CTA such as “Shop today for TVs under $300!” not only shows a user how little they will pay for a TV, but it also hits on the FOMO element as well (pretty sneaky huh?). If you are running a special promotion for shipping, you could try something like “order by Sunday for 1-day shipping.” Maybe you are an auto body shop looking to incentivize your audience with a discount; your CTA might look something like “Book today! 15% off your next visit.”

Honorable mention: Use crappy language

This doesn’t make the top 7, as it can be a little risqué, but it can also be pretty effective in catching someone’s eye. I don’t always recommend trying this, as it can be tough to pull off, but sometimes using negative words can motivate a person to change something they are self-conscious about. For example, if I was on Google looking to lose weight and saw a call-to-action such as “end your crappy diet today,” I might just want to click. Sure, it’s a bit brash, which is why I recommend using this technique sparingly, but it definitely commands attention.

Another example might be if I was looking to fix the brown patches in my lawn. If I was perusing Google and saw an ad with a CTA like “your yard sucks, let us fix it,” not only would I probably chuckle, but I would also probably click – just to see exactly what that lawn company could do for me. You’re walking a fine line with this technique, but it can pay off.

Do you have a preferred call-to-action, or perhaps one that surprised you with how well it did? What about one that you were hoping would perform well but ended up bombing? I’d love to hear about it, so feel free to sound off below!

MORE:17 Best Practices for Crazy-Effective CTA Buttons

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